An official-sounding name boils down to this: Starting this summer, between a dozen and 20 middle-schoolers will get one-on-one mentoring through the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. The Comprehensive Youth Development Training (CYDP) will focus on public speaking and debating skills of middle-school students.
“We simply decided to be pro-active to assist and help our young people’s self-esteem,” said the Rev. Joe Andrews, the current IMA president, and pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church on Fifth Avenue.
The ministerial alliance, comprised mainly of African-American clergy, voted last April to take on the task. This month, they’re getting the word out to the community and in February will complete their proposal. Clergy are eligible to become trainers, as well as area church members. Although the sponsoring organization is the ministerial group, you don’t have to be a member to lend your skills.
Children will be selected through area school counselors. Andrews said “C” pupils will be the focus — those who are struggling but not failing. When a child is asked to become part of the initiative, his or her parents or guardian will be required to sign a covenant of support. The child will be taught and coached between one and two years, depending on the progress. Sessions will be held monthly.
The public speaking component goals include:
Overcome nervousness, anxiety and fear of public speaking
Learn how to make a formal or informal presentation
Deliver a clear, concise and persuasive presentation
Understand and design the components of a professional presentation
Practice designing and delivering a presentation
Understand vocal projection, articulation, pacing and gesturing
Enhance body language, eye contact and gesturing
Handle difficult audience questions.
The debating component goals include: • Appropriate attire and behavior
• Making cogent arguments
• Writing effectively.
Eligible participants need to be between 10-14 years of age. They must be free of discipline problems. There is no fee for the participants or their families.
Andrews said “C” students are being targeted because “the confidence of ‘A’ students is already there. We’re thinking of children who may never get up on stage.”
The speeches and debates of the middle-schoolers will be filmed. Camera technicians are needed, as well as mentors. If you are interested in getting involved in this program, call 706-573-0111.